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Sutro Forest Update

A number of neighbors attended the meeting called by UCSF for 24 March 2011, including Walter Caplan, President of Forest Knolls Neighborhood Association. (Walter took the opportunity to explain the Crestmont issue to a cluster of people around the map of the forest.)

A Romantic Entrance to the Forest

UCSF’s meeting was intended to inform the neighbors about the reasons for the withdrawal of the FEMA application; reaffirm their commitment to a safe, healthy, beautiful and usable forest; and lay out next steps.

Barbara French opened the meeting with why they withdrew the FEMA applications:

  • They were more aggressive than the adaptive management principle called for in the 2001 Plan for the forest;
  • FEMA indicated that the environmental review would take about 2 years, much longer than UCSF wanted.
  • Once an environmental review started, UCSF would need to maintain the status quo until completion.

Instead, UCSF itself will do a full environmental review, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act . They hope to use UCSF funds that had been set aside as matching funds for the “FEMA project.” This review (through its Campus Planning office) would cover all intended actions over the full 61-acre area of the forest to avoid “piece-mealing.” It would take about a year, and would be preceded by three community workshops.

With the conclusion of the environmental review, eucalyptus trees would be “thinned” on 2 acres as a demonstration. (The location and nature of the demonstration would be subject to community input.) As soon as that was done, work would proceed on the South Ridge and Edgewood cut zones. The whole plan would take into consideration the rainy season as well as the bird nesting season.

There’s more information about the meeting and the timeline at the SutroForest website.

Another Happy Ending

For those of you who’ve seen this Lost Cat poster in our neighborhood for a gray and white cat: it’s been found. Emmet McDonagh posted a message to the neighborhood Group to say they’d found the cat and were watching it until its owner picked it up.

This community is wonderful about pets.

Meanwhile, the black lost cat Sebastien is still missing. He may have been spotted hiding in shrubbery on the other side of Twin Peaks, but the identification was unsure.

Muni Thefts, SFPD Maps

We’re getting the Park Station newsletter from the SFPD. One of the articles concerned crime on the Muni. Apparently, there’s been an rash of thefts targeting people using laptops and Ipods  and the like on the Muni trains or stops. The newsletter had some tips:

“Passengers are reminded to be aware of their surroundings while traveling on Muni. Suspects prey on victims using these devices knowing they are distracted while texting or listening to music on PDAs, using laptops, and talking on cellular phones. Passengers should be careful to limit the use of these devices and always be aware of other passengers on the vehicle.

“If a passenger notices anything suspicious, the person should call the Muni complaint line, 923-6164. For emergencies or for crimes in progress, call 9-1-1 (553-8090 for cellular phones), and for non-emergencies, 553-0123.”

Maybe a good idea to enter that number on your cellphones.

Anyone who wants to get on the Park Station newsletter list can do so by emailing Captain Teri Barrett. Her email address is teresa.barrett@sfgov.org

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The SFPD website also has a neat tool – an interactive map which allows you to see crimes reported in a specific area in the previous 90 days.  It needs a fast internet connection – DSL or Cable – and it’s a bit slow. It doesn’t show homicides, and it’s hedged about with warnings about its accuracy. Still it gives an interesting picture of crime in the area. (Forest Knolls had three thefts from cars, all on Warren Drive. It’s a relatively safe area, but don’t leave anything valuable where it can be seen.)

Clarendon U-turns

They’re planning to prohibit U-turns on northbound Clarendon Ave x Oak Park on schooldays, for an hour each in the morning (9 -10 a.m.) and afternoon (3-4 p.m.).  This is apparently to prevent parents from making a U-turn on Clarendon to cut ahead of the other parents waiting in line to drop off or pick up their kids. The SFMTA hearing was on 19 February 2010. This will be updated when we know the outcome.

Update: Neighbor Laura Bloch sent a message to say, “It appears the U-turn hearing was postponed and the prohibition won’t be mandatory, just a suggestion/plea from the school to prevent accidents and injuries.  The plan is to have a sign there, but only during those two time periods (morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up).”

Charming Little Farmer’s Market on Sundays

We knew we shouldn’t have gone late. But it was already noon last Sunday, and the Inner Sunset Farmer’s Market at 9th and Irving ends at 1 p.m. We’d forgotten all about… parking.

So we barely made it, getting there at 12.30, but it was worth it. It’s a charming neighborhood market, year round, Sunday mornings until 1 p.m.

It only has about 20-30 stalls, which makes it just the right size to browse through. In addition to the fresh, local (and some organic) produce, there were some interesting products like soap and various kinds of foods. The Urban Farm Girls, contrary to their name, don’t farm; they do garden design, including container gardens.

We were especially delighted by City Bees, which actually has beehives all over the city. It may have been their bees up on Twin Peaks, browsing in the oxalis and lupin. Their honey is labeled by origin: we bought some Marin Blackberry, though it was a tough choice between that and the Star Thistle honey. 

The stalls looked to be doing well. “Are we all sold out of the red chard?” someone said  at one booth. Good!

We stopped for stuffed grape leaves at this friendly Mediterranean place:

And tasted the spicy carrot and beetroot pickles here, regretfully deciding not to buy a jar because both were delicious, but we’d never finish them. Pity they didn’t have little jars.

The Extra Virgin Olive Oil was also very tempting, but was forgone for the same reason.

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The market had an attractive medley of fruit and flowers, including some gorgeous orchids.

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Dogs aren’t allowed into the Market (that’s regulations) but the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors, the neighborhood association responsible for the market, has arrangements:

Neighborhood Meeting – Police, Traffic, Sutro Forest, and Crestmont

The Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization meeting earlier this evening featured a number of speakers:

Police Captain Teri Barrett of the Park Station (at Waller x Stanyan) talking about crime.

The main problem in our (aside from speeding) was auto burglaries with broken car windows. (Don’t leave anything valuable visible! Put it in the trunk.) She was also enthusiastic about Comstat, an information technology that provides real-time information about crime; and about a reorganization that put more resources out at the stations. She also said if you want to be on the email list for the police blotter, email her at teresa.barrett@sfgov.org

Jack Fleck

Jack Fleck of the Municipal Transport Agency talking about traffic.

He spoke of the issues with putting in Speed Humps: cost, and pain for people in the disability community who have spinal problems. They do traffic studies. If 85% of cars are going at least 5 miles over the speed limit, they’ll consider it. He also discussed traffic from Clarendon School drop-offs and pick-ups.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd talking about the traffic mess expected at St Francis Circle this summer, and Laguna Honda Hospital’s planned June 2010 opening.

Sean Elsbernd

He also took questions on various topics, including solar panels on reservoirs. (Yes, we will have them if the pilot project works. No, the power won’t come to our homes, it’ll go to the City.) And some got to see a cell-phone pic of his cute baby…

There was a Sutro Cloud Forest presentation, covering topics discussed at the Save Sutro website.

UCSF had applied for a FEMA grant to cut down 90% of the trees under 3 feet in girth, and remove all the understory, from a quarter of the forest, for the purpose of Fire Hazard Mitigation. In fact, CalFire classifies this area only as Moderate fire hazard, its lowest rating. Moreover, this is a Cloud Forest: the eucalyptus catches moisture from the fog, it falls into the duff which holds it like a sponge, and the understory further insulates it from drying out. So year round, it’s damp in the forest. Our concerns were that the Plan would open out the forest, making it windier and dryer, and also artificially reclassify the area as having a Very High fire risk, with implications for insurance and disclosure on sale of homes. Other concerns: increased landslide risk, toxic herbicides, weakening of the remaining trees, and loss of habitat for birds and animals  in this Historic forest.  UCSF has withdrawn its FEMA application, and has called a meeting for 24 March 2010 to discuss its next steps. [Edited to Add: The meeting report is here.]

Walter Caplan of Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization, who ran the meeting, read out an email from Craig Dawson of Mt Sutro Stewards , which regretted he couldn’t make it and was concerned there would be no counterbalance to the Save Sutro presentation. Unexpectedly, he made it after all. He described his autobiography, the beauty of the forest, the Historic Trail the Mt Sutro Stewards are working on now connecting Stanyan with the forest, and the work they’re doing building trails all over the city. There did not appear to be any conflict with the prior presentation.

Dr Sam Sobol talking about Crestmont Hills.

The project, which had seemed dead, is being revived. An Enviromental Review is now in progress. Look here for more information, or at the Crestmont Preservation website.

We ran out of time for questions. If you put any questions in the comments here, we’ll forward them to the right person.

Neighborhood Meeting 11 March 2010, 7.30 p.m

There’s to be a neighborhood meeting at the Armenian Church on Thursday, 11 March 2010. The poster is shown below.  (However, Craig Dawson of Mount Sutro Stewards may be unable to attend. A short statement from him may be read out.)

[Edited to Add: Read our report on the meeting.]

Crestmont plan rides again?

Just heard from someone that the Crestmont project may have been revived.

There may be more details available at the neighborhood meeting on March 11th (at the Armenian Church, 275 Olympia Way, 7.30 p.m.) This website will be updated when we know more. (Edited to Add: Read on.)

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Dr Sobol sent out this bulletin (reprinted below).

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BULLETIN from Crestmont-Mt.Sutro-Forest Knolls Neighborhood Preservation Coalition.
Update March 11, 2010
Crestmont Hills Condo Development Raises its Ugly Head… Again!

The massive 34-unit condominium Crestmont Hills project, on the west slope of Mt. Sutro at the end of Crestmont Drive, has been resurrected yet again. First proposed in 2004, this project, so huge and inappropriate for our neighborhood, threatening hillside seismic stability and guaranteeing more Forest Knolls traffic and parking problems, was stalled by a massive show of opposition from our neighborhood. With the help of Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, a formal Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was mandated.

In April 2007, the project seemed defeated when fees were not paid. The Planning Department deemed it inactive and the property was sold at a Trustee Sale. However, the buyer, Magaved Magomedov, one of the original project partners, moved forward with the EIR process – until the economic shock of the fall of 2008, when fees were again in arrears and the project was placed on indefinite hold by the Planning Department.

Crestmont Hills remained stalled during 2009, but in the past two weeks we have been notified that the fees have been paid and the project is moving forward again through the EIR process. Our neighborhood must once more let our voice be heard and raise our objections to this monstrous project.

We urge all Forest Knolls neighbors to do the following:

1.    Contact the Planning Department’s Environmental Review Section
– Express your objections and concerns
– Request that your household be placed on the mailing and e-mail list to be notified of any developments regarding the Crestmont Hills project

Mail your comments, concerns and request for notification to:
Irene Nishimura, Major Environmental Analysis Section, 1660 Mission St., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94103; RE: Crestmont Hills Residential Project, Case No. 2004.0093E; e-mail: irene.nishimura@sfgov.org

2.    Express your concern to Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102, Sean.Elsbernd@sfgov.org

3.    Demonstrate your objection to this project by placing a “STOP CRESTMONT HILLS” poster in a window or on your garage or fence (contact us to obtain a poster for indoors or a laminated poster for outdoor display).

4.     Stay updated by checking our web site, www.CrestmontPreservation.org. Please sign up on the web site or provide your e-mail address so that we can ensure that you are notified about any breaking news or developments.

CONTACT:  Dr. Sam Sobol, 415-640-3869,
info@CrestmontPreservation.org

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In Praise of Dog Owners

Edited to Add: PETS page is up and running. Send pictures of your pets to fk94131 at yahoo.com if you want them there. (Permission to publish will be assumed if you send pictures.)

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I don’t have a dog.

Nevertheless, I think that a neighborhood is richer for having dog-owners in its midst. Specifically, Forest Knolls is richer for being a dog-friendly neighborhood.

If it weren’t for dog-walkers, there’d be very few people out and about. People have busy lives, and go elsewhere for exercise. Our homes are built with garages at street level, and gardens in the back: Great for privacy, not so good for community.

It’s the dog-owners who are out there. Many of them know each other, or at least know each other by their dogs. They care about each other and each other’s pets.

That’s the kind of thing that builds community.

There’s the charm of the dogs themselves. Big ones, little ones, pure-bred or mutts, they’re a friendly tail-wagging presence and give life to our neighborhood.

I asked a few dog-owners I met around Forest Knolls to let me take pictures of their dogs. They were willing; so far, no one has said no. The dogs, too, were mostly willing – except when they were trying to get close enough to lick my face.

Shouldn't happen

(Only one request, dog-owners – please clean up after your doggies. I know nearly everyone does nearly all the time…)

They are also an obvious presence in our neighborhood; they see what’s going on. Night or day, rain or shine, the dogs need walks, and their people take them. Paws on the street means eyes on the street.

It keeps us all a little bit safer.

Rain or shine...

Some years ago, someone I know lived in a restored brownstone in Brooklyn. They had two large dogs, which occasionally barked. The neighbors grumbled, as some neighbors will.  After five years, the apartment was too small, and the dogs and their folks moved out.

Two weeks later, the building was broken into. And then a week after that, it was broken into again.

“Too bad you guys moved out,” the formerly grumbling former neighbor said. “Seems like your dogs were a deterrent.”

Probably true.

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I’m thinking of starting a Pets page on this website, if people are interested and would like to contribute. Just pictures of our cats and dogs and birds and whatever other animals are in peoples’ lives. Leave a comment if you think it’s a good idea.

Another Stray Dog [Update: Gone home!]

One of our neighbors on Warren Drive found this dog. It has a collar but no tag and is frightened. If you know whose it is, please email the finder at vass42004 at yahoo.com or the webmaster of this site at fk94131  at yahoo.com

[Edited to Add: This just in.Thank you soooo much..The owners came by..]

Found stray dog

Eat your heart out, Mr Wordsworth!

A host of golden oxalis...

I wandered lonely as a cloud

[If a cloud wore a windcheater and carried a pocket-camera]

That floats on high o’er vales and hills

[Cole Valley and Twin Peaks, I guess]

When all at once I saw a crowd/ A host of golden daffodils;

[Or Bermuda Buttercups, alias oxalis]

Beside the lake

[Or above the reservoir, anyway]

Beneath the trees,

[Nope, no trees]

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

[Oh, yes. That.]

Forest Knolls seen from Twin Peaks, with flowers

It’s a wonderful feature of our neighborhood, having the iconic lookout point of Twin Peaks so close by. But at this time of the year, Twin Peaks is worth not just looking from, it’s worth looking at. Today, Sunday 28 February 2010, it’s particularly splendid. Twin Peaks is glorious with oxalis now, and scented with sweet alyssum.

I know oxalis is a weed, but it’s an extraordinarily lovely one. My take on it is, you can despise it and try to exterminate it; or you can enjoy it and try to photograph it.

There are a host of other flowers, native and not: Mustard, California poppy, wild iris, calendula, lupine. All set against the bright green of lush growing grass.

Go now, if you want to see it. (Sunny mornings are the best.) From March 2-16, they will start spraying Garlon, a toxic herbicide. You wouldn’t want to be there then, and by the time it’s done, the flowers will be gone.

Minor Fire in West Portal


We were in West Portal on Feb 25th afternoon, when the sirens started sounding, from all around us. They were converging on the last block of the shopping village, where, incidentally, we had parked. Several fire-trucks were arriving, and someone with a gurney, and all manner of emergency vehicles. It was an impressive response.

No fire was visible. A ladder leaned against the wall of the Sylvan Learning Center, next to the Clay Oven restaurant.

After a while, they started packing everything up. “Was it a false alarm?” I asked one of the responders.

“No,” he said. “We found a small fire on the roof. We’re investigating now.”

A block above the activity, the Muni trains – and their passengers – waited for the whole thing to clear. Traffic was blocked. Even as I left, things were sorting out and the emergency vehicles departing. Elapsed time, maybe 30 minutes.

Stray Black Pup [Safe home now]

This pup was wandering around the neighborhood on 24th Feb, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saw it on Christopher near Crestmont, and then down on Oak Park.

Black, female, white collar with blue turquoise-look decorations.

ETA: Someone just posted the following note on the community newsgroup (Feb 25th evening):

“stray puppy is home and safe….and absolutely adorable.”

Here’s to happy endings!

Great Horned Owls in the Forest

The first owl...

If you live near the forest, perhaps you’ve heard the soft hoots at dusk, or in the early morning. Soft, but a sound that carries. Those are our Great Horned Owls; they nest in Sutro Cloud Forest.

Recently, we were up in the forest at dusk, and along a trail, as the light faded, we saw them. First we noticed one on a branch high overhead. It saw us, looked down, and decided we were neither threatening nor edible. Then there was an almost noiseless flapping, and another owl settled into a tree on the other side of the trail.

... and its mate

We didn’t want to use a flash, of course; that would disturb the birds. But we got something of a picture without one.

Goats at Laguna Honda Hospital!

Laguna Honda Hospital has hired a herd of goats to clean out the undergrowth in front of its new building, and behind the parking lot (along Clarendon Avenue). In the picture, the white dots are the goats, and you can see a bus parked on top of the hill.

The Goat Guard Dog

We hope they inspected the place for nesting birds first, though hopefully it’s too early in the season yet.

[ETA a couple of pictures.]

A neighbor also wrote to say LHH is offering tours.

I received a flyer inviting the Forest Knolls neighborhood to tour the new Laguna Honda hospital.  They suggested we wear long pants (no skirts or dress shoes) and sensible shoes – they would provide boots – The first tour is today (Thursday) at 2 PM….  They have one more tour this month and two in March and one in April. “

So we looked it up. Here’s the tour schedule (from the LHH website):

Thursday, February 11, 2010 2 p.m.
Saturday, February 27, 2010 11 a.m.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 20, 2010 11 a.m.
Saturday, April ?, 2010 11 a.m.

“Tours can accommodate a limited number of people. Please let us know you are coming. Call 415-759-4597.

“Where to meet: All tours begin in the lobby of the old building.

“What to wear: Long pants, blouses or shirts with at least a four inch sleeve. No sleeveless shirts, skirts or dresses. We provide hard hats, safety glasses and vests. Please wear boots or sturdy shoes with a hard sole (we have loaner boots). For your safety, dress shoes and tennis shoes are not allowed.”

Census Workers at Your Door

This year, 2010, is a census year. (There’s one every ten years.) It aims to count everyone, citizen or not, in the US. In March, they’ll be sending out forms to be filled in and returned. If a household doesn’t return a form (or it’s lost in transit), a census worker could show up to ask the same questions. (This is scheduled for April-July.) It’s  legally required to co-operate with them.

The thing is, how do you know they’re legitimate and not some con artist trying to find out too much or get into your home?

Here’s what it says on the Census website (we added the emphasis):

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“If a census taker visits you, here’s what you should do:
* First ask to see their ID. All census workers carry official government badges marked with just their name; they may also have a “U.S. Census Bureau” bag
* Note that the census taker will never ask to enter your home
* If you’re still not certain about their identity, please call the Regional Census Centers to confirm they are employed by the Census Bureau. [Note: San Francisco’s  is at (415)-908-4050]
* Answer the census form questions for your entire household (you must be at least 15 years old to answer questions) so that the census taker can record the results for submission to the Census Bureau

Census takers visit local homes several times to capture resident information for the 2010 Census. If you prefer, you can schedule a visit with your census taker. Should the census taker come when you are away from your home, they will leave a contact number.”

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As someone pointed out on a separate newsgroup, “YOU DON’T HAVE TO ANSWER ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION.  The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations.  Any one asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau. Never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.

Call your local police non emergency number if you think anything is not right (after you send them away). They will find and interview the people you think are suspicious and verify their credentials.

Please chat with your elderly neighbors, friends and relatives – pass on this information to them.”

Of course, the easiest thing is to fill in and return the form. Then, unless it’s lost in the mail, there’ll be no need for a visit from the census taker.

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Edited to Add: In addition to the Census, there’s the American Community Survey. It’s a substitute for the Long Form that used to be part of the census. It goes to 1 out of 480 households.

Like the Census, it’s legally required to complete it. Unlike the census, it’s a fairly long form – it takes 20-60 minutes to fill in. Like the census, they will send a worker to talk to you if you get a survey and don’t fill it in.

MUNI Again…meetings in March/April 2010

Someone gave us a heads up on Muni – it’s short of funds, it needs more cuts, and its having public meetings about it.

Here’s the MUNI letter:

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“Dear Community Leaders and Transit Colleagues,
The SFMTA Board of Directors confronts a challenging budget situation for both the current fiscal year and the next two-year budget cycle. After layoffs and other cost-cutting measures that began last November, the SFMTA still faces a current-year $16.9 million shortfall.
The solutions before the Agency and those impacted by its decisions are both painful and unpopular.
Proposed solutions include:
Reduced frequencies and shorter service hours for Muni
• Muni fare increases and parking fee and fine increases

Your opinion counts. Please attend one of the following meetings to learn more and to provide public comment.

FY 2010 Focus
Town Hall Meetings, One South Van Ness Ave. @ Market St., 2nd Floor Atrium
Saturday, Feb. 6 – 10 a.m. to noon
Tuesday, Feb. 9 – 6 to 8 p.m.

SFMTA Board Meeting, City Hall Room 400
Tuesday, Feb. 16 – 9 a.m. (public hearing and possible Board action)

FY 2011-2012 Focus
Town Hall Meetings, One South Van Ness Ave. @ Market St., 2nd Floor Atrium
Wednesday, March 10 – 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 20 – 10 a.m.

SFMTA Board Meetings, City Hall Room 400
Tuesday, March 30 – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, April 6 – 2 p.m. (public hearing and possible Board action)
Tuesday, April 20 – 2 p.m. (public hearing and possible Board action)

If you cannot attend one of the meetings, visit www.sfmta.com for details or send an e-mail to sfmtabudget@ sfmta.com or call 311.

Sincerely,

Judson True
Communications Manager

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As of now, the proposal for reduced frequencies does not appear to affect the 36 Teresita bus service.  It does affect the K,L,M lines that pass through Forest Hill Station, and several others as well.

Tree trimming above Christopher

UCSF recently sent out a notice that it would be trimming and removing hazardous trees in the forest along Nike Rd, which connects the Aldea campus and the Native Garden at the summit.

This road (shown in yellow dots and marked with the ellipse)  is just above Christopher (shown in pink dots), and runs parallel to it for some distance.

UCSF’s notice says: “The work will take place Tuesday January 19 through Friday January 22. Staging will start after 8 am, and noisy work will be limited to the hours of 9am to 5pm.”

There are more details on the Save Sutro website.

What’s Up at Laguna Honda Hospital?

Laguna Honda Hospital (LHH), at the foot of Clarendon Avenue, is in a sense part of our neighborhood. The Woods, a community of townhomes, lies just across from it, as does Galewood Court. Thanks to the addition of some unlovely tower blocks, and the felling of a lot of trees (eucalyptus – of course),  it’s a lot more visible than it used to be. Especially at night, when it bears some resemblance to a large parking garage.

LHH Rear at night from Clarendon

So we’re concerned at what’s happening at LHH. George Wooding, President of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council, wrote an article pointing out problematic changes that the public has not been informed about.

For those interested in more detail, there’s a website called Stop LHH Downsize with a great deal of information (including the full text of Mr Wooding’s article, “Many Problems Face Laguna Honda Hospital“).

Here’s the gist of the story:

In 1999, the San Francisco voters agreed to a bond measure to rebuild Laguna Honda Hospital – a city-owned nursing home, they thought, for indigent elderly and disabled San Franciscans.

What has happened since?

  • The rebuild has cost $600 mn instead of the budgeted $401 mn.
  • Tree felling has chopped large holes in the screen between Clarendon Avenue and the hospital’s rear, giving the neighborhood a fine view of the backside of the new blocks and the parking lot.
  • LHH has cut 35% of the beds (420 of 1200), eliminated another 200 planned assisted living units, and suspended or terminated its adult daycare program for older people with dementia.
  • More problematically, LHH has changed its mission – or is trying to.

The Department of Public Health is planning to admit people with mental health and substance abuse problems. Instead of having a nursing home in our neighborhood – a mission most of us support – we will have effectively, a mental-health hospital.

It’s an experiment that has already been tried, unsuccessfully. In 2003, in order to reduce pressure on San Francisco General Hospital, young patients with substance abuse and mental health issues were sent on to LHH. Staff were attacked, fires set, and there were clashes between the young male patients and the older residents. Eventually, the situation deteriorated sufficiently that the Department of Justice was involved, and the experiment stopped.

Hospital & Rehabilitation Center

It’s about to be restarted. (We think, since there has been no clarity on the issue.)

Says Wooding in his article: “We don’t know what population LHH intends to serve when it opens just four months from now, and whether LHH will be serving geriatric patients with chronic medical illness, or psychosocial patients with mental illness and substance abuse needs.”

The underlying problem is that San Francisco has no place to send mentally ill/ substance abusing patients who cannot be released into the community. (In 2004,  San Francisco’s only long-term care psychiatric facility closed down, with a loss of 145 psychiatric beds.)

That doesn’t mean that LHH should be sacrificed to that function. Especially without buy-in from voters and the surrounding communities.

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[Edited to Add: At the March 11, 2010 community meeting, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd announced that the new facility would open in June (though the patients would not move in until later).  In response to a question, he said that LHH was not changing its admission policy: It would be open only to people whose primary diagnosis was physical, though some of those might have mental challenges as well. “Don’t worry, it’s not becoming a homeless shelter,” he said.]

…and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas, to all who celebrate it!  And Happy New Year, everyone.

Today I received a charming message, anchored by a fractured candy-cane: The kids from the Japanese Bi-lingual Bi-cultural Program at Clarendon Elementary thanking their neighbors and giving them greetings of the season.

Over the last few days, I took some photographs of some of the decorated houses around our neighborhood. Here’s a selection.

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